Dark chocolate and amaretti semifreddo

 Dark chocolate semifreddo with amaretti biscuits.
The unusual holiday heatwaves seem to be well and truly behind us here in Cape Town, and all of a sudden the dark, chilly mornings and early sunsets are more obvious and a reminder of the cold (and hopefully very rainy) months ahead. As I sit here I am wearing two jerseys and clutching a hot cup of tea and I had second thoughts about posting this recipe given the shift in seasons and the fact that this is a frozen dessert. Then I laughed at this silliness because frankly any time of the year is appropriate for a chocolate dessert, frozen or not. Who’s with me?

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Thin crust spelt flour pizza

Spelt flour pizza base.
It’s a new month and time to get back to normal after all of the school and public holidays which have had many of us wandering around much of the time scratching our heads and trying to work out what day it is! (Or maybe that was just me?) Last week I took a little break and the family headed to beautiful Knysna for a couple of wonderfully chilled days. Well, as chilled as you can be with two small children running about. We had a brilliant time and I so enjoyed being out of the normal routine, free from the usual daily chores and away from my laptop screen! Just what the doctor ordered. 

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Lemon Easter cookies

 
Today’s post is a bit of holiday fun for the kiddies, and given world events over the past two weeks and particularly here in S.A. I think us adults could do with a bit of fun too! In all seriousness though, this is an exceptionally tasty cookie, with or without all the icing and trimmings, and you should definitely give this recipe a try these Easter holidays!

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Chocolate dipped figs with orange and almond

Dried figs stuffed with almonds and dipped in dark chocolate
Welcome to the start of the weekend, whoop whoop! Another busy week is coming to an end and our theme for the week has been contending with back to school germs, argh! Because nothing says back to school like a sink full of empty lunch boxes, an inbox crammed with school reminders and snotty noses. True story.

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Chocolate and kahlua mousse cups

Chocolate mousse with kahlua.
Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and what better excuse to indulge with something decadent and chocolatey. Not that I need a good reason… holiday or no holiday you do not have to ask me twice when it comes to anything chocolate related! Yes, I have been on somewhat of a chocolate mission recently and as a result this has inadvertently become the theme for the rest of February on the blog. I am sure you don’t mind.

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Mince pie tart with Christmas custard

Mince pie with puff pastry and topped with stars.
Just a few days to go until Christmas (four sleeps to be precise), are you ready? We are looking forward to a family Christmas at home this year and will be celebrating with a relaxed festive lunch next to the pool – cannot wait!

Fruit mince tart with puff pastry and Christmas custard.
One of the nicest things about this time of the year is that we get to eat mince pies! In fact, just this morning my daughter and I baked up a batch of star topped mince pies to enjoy over the Christmas week, and we will no doubt also be leaving a few next to the tree on Saturday evening.
Mince pie tart slice with stars and custard. Green Christmas leaves dusted with icing sugar.
This mince pie tart is the larger version of our favourite mini mince pies and is ideal for any Christmas get together – as a dessert at lunch or dinner or even with afternoon tea. Take it to the next level with this lavish Christmas custard which is delicately flavoured with spices and orange zest.
This is my last post for the year, thank you so much for reading and following my kitchen tales in 2016! There is lots more to come next year, but in the meantime here’s wishing you a glittery and treat filled Christmas. x
Mince pie tart slices for Christmas.


MINCE PIE TART WITH CHRISTMAS CUSTARD

For the tart:

  • 2 small apples (about 200g)
  • 1 x 454g jar fruit mincemeat
  • 2 tbsp mixed citrus peel
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • flour for dusting
  • 400g ready made puff pastry
  • star shaped cookie cutters
  • milk for brushing
  • icing sugar for dusting (optional)

For the custard:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 350ml milk
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • 1½ tsp finely grated orange rind
1.) Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a 20cm tart tin. 

2.) Peel and grate the apples. Squeeze out any excess liquid and place in a mixing bowl. Add the fruit mincemeat, citrus peel and brandy. Mix well.

3.) Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Line the tart tin with puff pastry. Cut the excess pastry away from the rim. Press the scraps into a ball and roll out again. Cut out star shapes of various sizes.

4.) Tip the fruit mince mixture into the tart tin. Arrange the stars on top of the tart and brush lightly with some milk.

5.) Bake the tart for 35 minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

6.) To make the custard: Whisk the egg yolks and castor sugar together until pale and creamy. Whisk in the flour and cinnamon. Place the milk and cloves in a saucepan over a medium heat and heat just until boiling point. Remove from the heat and carefully add half of the milk to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Then add the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and heat slowly while whisking. Add the vanilla paste. Continue to stir for a few minutes until the custard is quite thick. Remove the cloves and stir in the orange rind. Transfer to a warm jug.

 


Recipe round up: 10 fabulous edible Christmas gift ideas

 Edible gift ideas for Christmas.

 

Happy Friday! Christmas is just around the corner (eek!) and if the thought of hitting the shopping malls this weekend fills you with dread then this post is just for you.

Personally, I love getting edible foodie gifts. But more than that, I love making and giving foodie gifts. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a parcel of delicious goodies that have been beautifully packaged and made with love? So today I have rounded up some of my most popular gifting recipes that I am sure you and your specials will love too. And without further ado, here they are:

 

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